The high powered FICCI delegation to Japan accompanying Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley today, participated in the NIKKEI Conference on the theme “The Future of Asia”, which was followed by a roundtable on National Investment & Infrastructure Fund (NIIF). Speaking on the topic “India’s Economic Performance: An Engine of Growth”, Shri Arun Jaitley emphasised the role of various reforms and measures by the government in improving the health of Indian economy amidst the tepid global environment and challenging domestic environment due to two years of bad monsoons.
With better prospects of monsoons this year, combined with improved urban demand and continuation of reforms, he expressed optimism in maintaining or even improving the growth rate in the current fiscal. Shri Jaitley spoke on the series of structural reforms that have facilitated India’s high growth including large public spending on infrastructure, liberalisation of investment regime, and improvement in ease of doing business. He also highlighted the focus being laid on rural development and social security, which are critical for long term development of the country. Amongst the key legislative reforms, Shri Jaitley highlighted the importance of recently passed Bankruptcy law, which will make the exit from unviable business easy.
He also expressed optimism for early introduction of Goods and Services Tax. Later, in the roundtable discussion on National Investment and infrastructure (NIIF) with various Japanese fund managers, the Finance Minister spoke about the potential opportunities in the infrastructure sector in India, especially in roads, highways, railways, ports and airports, several of which are being developed in a PPP mode. He urged the Japanese companies, having huge expertise and technology in these areas, to be an active partner in India’s growth story. He also urged the Japanese investors to make use of the NIIF, which is a flexible way of investing in India’s infrastructure development.
Highlighting the potential opportunity for Japanese Investment in India’s infrastructure, Dr. Saurabh Garg, Joint Secretary (Investment) said that over USD 700 billion of investments are being planned in infrastructure sector and significant reforms have been implemented to create financially attractive projects for investors.
He said that NIIF is a unique vehicle to tap this opportunity and offers a good platform to foreign investors to make attractive returns. NIIF is an ideal blend of private sector entrepreneurship with government support. H.E. Mr. Sujan R Chinoy, India’s ambassador to Japan spoke about the Japanese interest in India and said “Japanese companies are increasingly looking to have a presence in India as part of their global risk mitigation strategy, in keeping with Japan’s ‘China Plus One’ Strategy and the emphasis on the creation of new ‘Partnerships for Quality Infrastructure’ in the region.
Mr. Harshavardhan Neotia, President FICCI complemented Japanese companies which have actively participated in India’s mega infrastructure projects. “There is definitely no match for Japanese technology and expertise in highspeed railways and we look forward to many such partnership projects across the country,” he said. Mr. Koichi Yajima, COO, Japan Bank of International Coop (JBIC) mentioned that JBIC surveys have ranked India as the most attractive and promising investment destination for Japanese manufacturing companies. He highlighted some of the key areas where Japanese companies are currently participating in India, including DMIC, renewables and other Make in India projects. Given India’s infrastructure deficit and requirement of huge investments in this sector, Mr. Yajima also expressed hope that NIIF will provide good opportunity for Japanese companies for making investment in India’s infrastructure